19,000 home backlog demands immediate action from NI Executive on governance and funding model of NI Water

8 April Housing Business Environment  Infrastructure 



Commenting ahead of an NI Assembly debate today on ‘Addressing NI Water Challenges’, Construction Employers Federation Chief Executive Mark Spence said:

“A survey of our homebuilders has made clear that current wastewater capacity constraints are holding up some 8,450 homes equating to just under £1bn of investment. As we understand it, when coupled with the proposals of housing associations and other developers, approximately 19,000 homes are today unable to proceed.

“Against a backdrop of a 60-year low of housing completions in 2023 and an ever-growing social housing waiting list, it is unquestionable that we are therefore in the middle of a housing crisis in Northern Ireland.

“Given the NI Executive’s one-year capital budget of £1.8bn for 2024/25 - the same in cash terms as some 17 years ago – and a recurrent need from NI Water from this of at least £500m per annum for the next decade, the Executive must face the urgent reality that the overall settlement goes nowhere near the level required in order to deliver many of the key projects which are likely to form part of a Programme for Government, never mind NI Water’s PC21 and PC27 programmes.

“Coming on the back of the recent NI Audit Office report on ‘Funding water infrastructure in Northern Ireland’ which called for a “comprehensive review of alternative arrangements, led by suitably qualified experts”, it is therefore crucial that all parties take the opportunity today to unite behind the motion and the need for a fundamental review of the governance and funding model of NI Water with full consideration of options like mutualisation.

“Without this, and in the clear context of the Executive’s declining Block Grant capital expenditure, we are putting a major inhibitor on economic growth and also removing from an entire generation the prospect of a home to call their own.

“That is a damning indictment of any government and it is one that, in Northern Ireland’s case, has been entirely predictable but for which we can no longer neglect finding a solution”.



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